Four Kurdish Political Prisoners Executed in Iran at Dawn


As part of the Iranian regime’s campaign to suppress opposition from ethnic minorities, the executions of Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, and Shirin Alam Hooli were carried out in Iran at dawn. Another political prisoner, Mehdi Eslamian, was also executed.

The four Kurdish political prisoners – Farzad Kamangar, Ali Heydarian, Farhad Vakili, and Shirin Alam Hooli – were well-known for their work in human rights activism, particularly concerning the situation of the Kurdish minority in Iran. They were all executed on the 9th of May, 2010. Information about each of the political prisoners can be read below.

Mr. Farzad Kamangar

Farzad Kamangar was a 32-year old Kurdish teacher and social worker from the Kurdish city of Kamyaran. He was arrested in August 2006 for his activism and was accused of membership in an outlawed Kurdish organization, Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK). During his time of incarceration, Kamangar was subject to extreme mental and physical torture, which he later described in a letter. Kamangar was refused access to his lawyer and was charged in an unfair trial that lasted only seven minutes much like many other political prisoners in Iran. Kamangar was given the death sentence by authorities under the charge of Mohareb or “enemy of God” despite the lack of evidence against him. In a letter written to the head of the judiciary, Kamangar had requested a retrial but his requests were repeatedly refused. Kamangar’s case was well-known by human rights organizations internationally and despite many calls and appeals sent on behalf of human rights groups and activists, the Islamic Regime of Iran carried out his execution

Ms. Shirin Alam Hooli

Shirin Alam Hooli was born in the village of Gheshlagh near the city of Maku in Iran. She was arrested in May of 2007 by the Revolutionary Guards in Tehran. She spent the first 25 days of her imprisonment in an unknown location under brutal physical and psychological torture. After that she was scheduled to be transferred to Section 209 of the Evin Prison. However, her poor condition due to the torture she received prompted authorities to first transfer her to Evin’s medical clinic. After she was released from the medical clinic, she was sent to Section 209 where she was held in solitary confinement and subjected to more brutal torture for another six months. Shirin Alam Hooli was later transferred to the women’s ward in Evin Prison. She was pressured to make a televised confession, which she refused to do, but was still sentenced to death on Mohareb (Enemy of God) charges. Authorities claimed that she was a member of an illegal Kurdish organization despite their failure to produce any evidence against her.

Mr. Ali Heydarian

Kurdish human rights activist, Ali Heydarian, was arrested in August 2006. Mr. Heydarian was also charged with membership in an illegal Kurdish organization in a show trial – like many other political prisoners in Iran – that denied him access to his own lawyer and in which proper evidence was not provided against him. After 17 months in prison, Heydarian was condemned to death under the charge of Mohareb (Enemy of God) on 29 February 2008. Heydarian was held in Rajai-Shahr Prison near Karaj, where he was psychologically and physically tortured and was constantly denied medical treatment.

Mr. Farhad Vakili

Mr. Farhad Vakili was arrested along with Mr. Heydarian and Mr. Kamangar in August 2006. In a 2008 report, the Child Rights Information Network called the proceedings “a grossly flawed process that fell far short of international standards for a fair trial.” Vakili was also accused of being a member of an illegal Kurdish organization despite the lack of evidence against him. He was charged under the crime of Mohareb (Enemy of God) and was sentenced to death. Vakili also underwent serious psychological and physical torture

Following these executions, 15 Kurdish political prisoners remain on death row in Iran: Zeinab Jalalian, Habibollah Latifi, Shirkou Maarefi, Jamal Mohammadi, Sami Hosseini, Rostam Arkia, Rashid Akhkandi, Hossein Khazri, Mostafa Salimi, Anvar Rostami, Mohammad Amin Agoushi, Iraj Mohammadi, Ahmad Pouladkhani, Hasan Talei and Habibollah Golpalipour.